Subscribe to our email newsletter to receive weekly articles and great inspiration. You can’t go wrong with lunges, and just like squats, you can do them anywhere you have enough space. Categorized as a plyometric movement, it’s perfect for activities that require an intense burst of energy like sprinting. Ensure that you keep your chest up, your weight in your front heel and your front knee behind your toes. Some of the benefits of the leg press are: Below you will find a range of exercises ranging in difficulty, from beginner to advanced. The barbell step-up is a fantastic functional, unilateral, multi-joint exercise that is killer for your quads, glutes (and core). He has been a contributor for several health and fitness publications, including WealthyGorilla.com, MuscleAndBrawn.com. Smith racks provide stability which allows you to load up on the weight, more so than in a standard barbell squat. Push back up to standing position without locking out your knees. This makes it an effective alternative to the leg press. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and placing one foot up on the bench. It is one of the most effective exercises when it comes to targeting the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Pro tip: Take a slightly wider foot stance to target your inner thighs and hamstrings, as you would with a wide stance leg press. By isolating one side at a time, you strengthen the weak areas to create more balance and proportion between both legs. In this article, I will be introducing you to 11 alternatives to the leg press machine that are designed to sculpt and strengthen your pins! As you can see, there are plenty of amazing alternatives to sitting in the leg press machine, day in and day out. They’re not only fantastic for working the entire leg – including smaller muscles like the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, lateral hamstring, and gastrocnemius – but they also work your core, which is never a bad thing. Keep your feet hip-width apart, and your toes slightly turned out. Leg Workouts at Home: No Equipment Leg Exercises, At-Home Leg Workouts: Feel Strong and Confident This Summer, 12 Days of Christmas Workout: Holiday HIIT is Here. Have both feet on the bench/box before stepping down. Driving through your heel and the middle of your foot, push up to be standing on the bench. The leg press is also a popular choice for those suffering from lower back pain. Stand in the rack with the bar on your back as in a back squat. Bend your knees, sending your arms backwards and then with as much explosive power as possible, jump forwards creating as much hip drive as possible. Whether it be because you don’t have access to a leg press machine, or you simply want to spice up your leg workouts with something different – there’s plenty here to keep you going for a few leg days. The standing leg extension offers a similar movement as a leg extension machine, but changes the exercise from an “open-chain” exercise to a “closed-chain” exercise—meaning your supporting leg and foot are in a fixed position: Pro tip: Raise the height of the bench/box to keep this exercise challenging you! Want to pack some size on your quads? Hammer Strength has delivered a leg press machine which allows for independent use of each leg. Instead of using both legs at the same time, use one leg at a time to make sure each leg gets a thorough workout. Do three rounds of the following exercises: Jumping jacks (or jump rope) – 60 seconds, Forward lunges (right-left equals one) – 30 seconds]. All you need is a little bit of space to move around! Once in a stable position, place the weight plate on your legs. Walking is great for your health, but how much do you need to walk to aid weight loss? Place a weight plate on the floor in front of you. Stand in front of a bench or box of an appropriate height (knee height is a good starting place). results — no machine needed. Hold this position for the desired amount of time. The biomechanics of a smith machine squat are like the leg press, but in reverse. Step forward with one leg, keeping your hips square and bend at the knee to drop forward. I just needed an alternative to the leg press. You can alternate legs on each rep, train only one leg, or train them at the same time. The leg press targets the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Get ready to kiss the leg press machine (and waiting in a queue to use it) goodbye! Leg Extension Alternative #6: Standing Leg Extension. Have a dumbbell in each hand on extended arms by your sides. This great muscle builder allows you to progressively add more weight to make the movement more difficult over time. Brian Ward is a fitness writer, founder & editor of TheWorkoutDigest. Push back up powerfully to standing position, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. This exercise can be compared to a single-leg leg press. Bilateral squats work and are great for developing the lower body, but single leg squats can do the same while also … This post may use affiliate links. What makes this exercise special is the uneven distribution of weight. Drop your hips back and down (as if sitting on an invisible chair), keeping your knees behind your toes and your hip and ankles in line. There is something here for everyone, and something here for every muscle in your lower body. Step 3: Next, begin the exercise by releasing the pin so that all the weight is now supported by your right leg… Now that you know the benefits of a leg press machine and your home variations, you can start incorporating leg press alternatives into your regular exercise routine. Any and all words on TheWorkoutDigest.com are not represented by CrossFit, Inc. Sitemap | Earnings Disclaimer | Terms & Privacy Policy, How To Perform The Band Resisted Broad Jump, Walking Lunge - The Proper Lift - BPI Sports, Barbell Step Ups- Jackson, Ms Personal Fitness Trainer. Like the barbell step-ups as mentioned above, but with a greater focus on unilateral strength. Squats are the most similar exercises to the leg press, which is why it’s our number one alternative. Shift most of your weight to the front leg. Additionally, the leg press can be a viable alternative to squatting at times when injury/rehabilitation purposes contradict the usage of squats. Rather than looking for non-machine options, you could choose to do an entirely different exercise. Drive weight into your heels to stand back up to your starting position. Drive through the heel of your front foot, pushing off the back foot to return to your starting position. If you are using the leg press machine as an assistance exercise, step ups may be a great alternative. This is such a monster exercise, it’s worth waiting for! Check out my other article where I discuss the 5 different foot placements for leg press. My legs hurt just writing this article! But they do have some unique problems, and it’s just as important to know these as it is the risks and limitations posed by bilateral exercises. People tend to gravitate towards the leg press machine on leg day. Is there a leg press alternative that is just as … Benefits of The Leg Press. How to: Have a dumbbell in each hand on extended arms by … Jay Cardiello: Single-leg dumbbell step-up. I'm curious if any of you do single leg leg presses on the leg press machine instead of two leg. There are a range of leg press benefits that make it a favorite exercise among fitness fans out there. Stand in front of a knee height bench or box, facing away from it. The problem is that a lot of people restrict their leg workouts to the local gym, but what if you want to do some leg workouts at home? Even with the best of form, the constant tension and shortening of the hip flexors combined with the lack of hip extension fuels lower back issues. The exercises included in this article target every muscle in your lower body and are good for everything important: strength, power and size. I like to do walking lunges with the maximum weight I can manage, over a smaller amount of reps. Leg presses involve pushing your feet against a certain amount of resistance weight on a leg press machine — the more the weight, the more challenging the movement. Single leg squats (unilateral squats) are a great alternative to two leg squats (bilateral squats). Although you are pushing weight like in the leg press, this exercise works your muscles in a way the leg press never could. You don’t NEED a leg press machine to effectively train your legs. This move is unique because as the body descends, the hips experience some rotation that causes the body to move in all three planes of motion at the same time. Like the leg press, this move places very little stress on your lower back. Single leg press variation. If you don't have the right exercise equipment to do a leg press at home, you can use dumbbells as extra resistance for several alternative exercises instead. He has been lifting weights & writing about fitness for over 5 years. Stand against a wall and walk your feet out. This exercise places a great focus on strength, speed and power. Activate your glutes and press your weight into your heels raise your hips. Try our 15-minute workout and get some serious leg action you can squeeze into any busy schedule. Step up onto the bench/box with your weaker leg first, driving through your heel and the middle of your foot. However, where the leg press machine excels in usability, it falls short in its ability to stabilize your legs, as the machine doesn’t work smaller, supporting muscles in the leg (more on that later). If you have a spine or lower back problems, a single leg press might be the best way to use leg press machines. Single leg exercises can be a great alternative to conventional two-legged counterparts. Leaning back into the barbell, bend your knees and lower yourself down into a squat, over a few seconds. Set up a barbell in a landmine attachment and load it with an appropriate weight. Step into the resistance band, placing it around your hips. Place one foot on the bench and hop forward with your other leg until you are in a ‘lunge-width’ stance. One essential building block for many strength and resistance trainers that may be inaccessible is the leg press machine. Let’s start things off and discuss what muscles you can expect to strengthen when you use a leg press. An effective leg press alternative, there are numerous types of lunges you can perform, including classic forward lunges, curtsy lunges or walking lunges to name just a few. There's a lot of proponents of single leg training, especially in the athletic world with single leg squats, due to lower back injury risk combined with the bilateral deficit which says we can actually produce more force per limb when using one limb at a time (ie a single leg … Keep lowering your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your next step-up should be with your other leg. I prescribe this exercise for my clients often, specifically for its balance and symmetry developing benefits. The quadriceps are one of the biggest muscles in the body, and the classic leg press machine at a gym gives them a great workout. I find that this exercise and the continuous load on one leg creates a greater level of exertion through the glutes. A leg press machine is an excellent tool for building muscle and strengthening the legs. Roll a barbell over your lap so that it is in the crease of your hips. Continue your reps, alternating from one leg to the other. Facing away from the landmine, place the barbell on one shoulder and place your toes on the weight plate on the floor so only your heels are on the ground. Feeling fighting fit? Sit in the leg press and rotate your body onto your right side so that you are sitting on your right hip. You can do the following four leg press alternatives easily from the comfort of your home, at the park or in your backyard. Using a dumbbell, slightly bend one knee and lift the other leg off the ground. WorkoutDigest is not associated with CrossFit.com. © 2016–2021 TheWorkoutDigest.com - All Rights Reserved TheWorkoutDigest.com is designed for informational purposes only & DOES NOT provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Bring your knees towards your chest without lifting your hips off the ground, Push your legs away from you, against the resistance band, until they are straight, Squeeze your quads at the end of the movement. Suggested reps: 20 to 24 (1o to 12 on each leg). Lower your body down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, ensuring your knees are behind or in line with your toes. This exercise primarily works your entire backside including your glutes, lower back, and hamstrings. Bend your knees and have your feet close to your hips, in such a way that when you push up into your thrust, your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Take a few hops forward to create a wide split stance starting position. The Leg extensions are perfect if you need to Aim & look on your quads. The video clip below shows a weighted squat which is perfect for more the more advanced. Look no further than the Bulgarian split squat! Push back upwards whilst taking your next step forward. You can activate and train your glutes with this leg press alternative — the glute bridge. Lift one leg up onto a bench or ledge behind you (rest your foot on the ledge on your toes). Not to worry, you can build-up these smaller muscles with another set of leg exercises you can do anywhere. This is another exercise that looks nothing like the leg press but is actually a very good alternative, both for the gym and home use. If you’re just starting out, try it with your bodyweight for starters. Leg press alternatives should be included in any fitness routine if you don’t have the ability to use a leg press machine. Broad jumps especially exercise your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, abductors and calves. Pause and hold this position for a moment. Do not rest your other leg on the bench/box – just leave it “in the air” for a second before placing it back on the ground. When you push with a single leg, you can rectify leg … But most guys don’t get really … Lower your hips back down and return to the starting position. This exercise can be compared to a single-leg leg press. You’ll discover workouts tailored specifically to your goals and target specific muscle groups. If your training program is flexible enough, you should be able to do lifts like back squats, front squats, step ups, Bulgarian split squats, hack squats, or many other exercises in place of the leg press. Jump up and forward in the air, exploding forward as far as you can. You should land in a semi-squat position, bending your knees to absorb the impact of the jump. Slowly move down at the hips, using the raised left leg as an anchor to balance you as you … Squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the movement and hold in this position for a second. This exercise is a complete lower body exercise, targeting your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. You can use a hip thrust pad to perform this exercise easier. It works one leg at a time, which means it’s an excellent way to spot and fix left-to-right strength imbalances. My advice to you would be to stop once your thighs are parallel with the ground. The exercise we all love to hate – walking lunges! If our leg press alternatives have piqued your interest, then why not sign up for the 8fit Pro app for even more effective exercises. Broad jumps are great for developing power through the lower body. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Pro tip: Hold the dumbbells in front rack position to increase the load on your quads and get your arms working too. The leg press functions in all the four segments of our leg muscles in our lower body section. The further away your feet are from your hips, the more you will target your hamstrings. Walk out, away from the cable machine, until there is tension on the band. Without collapsing through your chest (keep upright), engage your core and then bend both your front and back knee to lower yourself into a deep lunge. However, with the weight loaded on the front of your body rather than the back, it is your quads that get the greater workout as opposed to your glutes. The leg press is a machine-based lower body exercise that can be used to build quadriceps hypertrophy and improve squat strength. You can perform most lunge variations at home, working your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Note, this is NOT for beginners. This approach to walking lunges will increase the mass building benefits through your quads and glutes. Stand straight with your shoulders directly above your hips. Place your weaker leg on the bench (it will stay there until the end of your rep range). Make sure you keep your chest and elbows up as to not collapse to far forward into the squat, taking the weight off your heels and onto your toes. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. To get you through your next leg day without access to a leg press … This exercise places all the tension on one leg at a time – and without placing unnecessary tension on your spine. Engage your core and drive back through hips, bending your knees to lower yourself down into a squat. Then wear a weighty backpack or hold a kettlebell/dumbells when lunging and feel the burn! The split leg press Some advanced gyms are becoming aware of the needs of the advanced athlete. Biomechanically, the front and back squat are almost the same. They can be done with either a barbell on your back or with dumbbells by your side. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your buttocks. Walk back towards the cable machine (maintaining tension) and perform your next rep. Take a large step forward, and then bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground. Squats are a favorite all-around exercise for a reason. Why not level-up make your workout even more challenging by wearing ankle weights when executing the movement. Top 9 Effective Bench Press Alternative Exercises to Try Today, Leg Press Vs Hack Squat: The Quest For Maximum Quadriceps Hypertrophy, 13 Seated & Lying Leg Curl Alternatives (You Can Do at Home), Bench Press Vs Push Ups: Why The Bench Press Isn’t Enough, Top 7 Decline Bench Press Alternatives & Substitutes, 3 Reasons Your Wrists Hurt During Front Squats & How to Fix it, 8 Hardest Ab Exercises to Upgrade your Core Workout, Top 6 Alternatives to Lunges for Bad Knees, 6 Medicine Ball Partner Exercises for a Full Body Workout, Lie on your back with bent knees and the resistance band under the arch of your feet. 12. For those of you who love “loading up on weight” like you can do on the leg press machine, this one is for you. 4. The difference obviously lies in the position of your body as you press the weight. Why? Keep your weight in your heels, engage your core and send your hips backwards, descending into a squat by bending your knees. The leg press is a compound power lift which involves the use of the maximum number of legs muscle groups. Pro tip: Practice your ‘mind to muscle connection’ – focus on your glutes! The good news is that you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg to reap the benefits of a leg press at home, and you don’t have to head to the gym either. It is imperative that you get the form right when doing this exercise for it to be effective, so pay close attention to the ‘how to’ notes. You can perform most lunge variations at home, working your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. That said, this exercise is a machine variation. With your upper back rooted to the floor, lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and knees, squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. You can do the leg press on a machine in a gym, or you might follow the leg press alternatives like squats. Vertical leg presses are performed lying on your back on a slightly angled back pad (often around 7 degrees), and pressing a platform loaded … Side-lying single leg press with recovery band With a recovery band to provide variable resistance, this exercise will work your glutes, quads and hamstrings on both sides. For this exercise, any Leg Press machine will work. The foot placement keeps your pelvis in a neutral position ensuring your spine or lower back problems are not exacerbated. For this reason, the Single-Legged Leg Press won’t demand the same level balance, coordination and stability as the … Pro tip: The closer your feet are to your hips, the more you will target your glutes. Load a barbell onto your back, as you would for a back squat. I find that this exercise and the continuous load on one leg creates a greater level of exertion through the glutes. Through optimal hip extension, barbell hip thrusts target your glutes and hamstring. Single Leg Press/ Unilateral Leg Press. Bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground – you should feel tension in your front leg and glute, and a stretch through your back quad and hip flexor. Take a deep breath and then push your hips up until your shoulders are on the bench and your hips fully extended. Lower yourself in a controlled manner until your rear knee nearly touches the floor, with your front knee directly above your ankle. Leg presses specifically focus on working your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Provided you use it as a single-leg variation, the Leg Press can be an effective alternative to the Pistol Squat. One of the causes that leg extension is so common is how easy it is to do for everyone from most well-advanced athletes to a (1 st)first-timer.. Plant your left foot on the plate on a 45-degree angle with your toes … You have to drag yourself to the gym to do the lying leg press. The landmine press is a unique exercise that can build strength, core stability, scapular control, and general body awareness necessary for strength, power, and fitness sports. Glute bridges are ideal in injury prevention and pack a serious punch. Suggested reps: 20 to 24 (10 to 12 on each leg). Using a resistance band for your broad jumps will make it extra challenging. Leg Press Alternative - 2 Targeted Muscles: Legs and Buttocks Leg Press with Resistance Band What You Need: Resistance band 1. Since these are the exact muscles, you’ll use them throughout the day whenever you use your … This variation is similar to the elevated single-leg squat except the non-weight-bearing leg travels laterally behind the supporting leg. Like the barbell step-ups as mentioned above, but with a greater focus on unilateral strength. Do all reps with the barbell on one side before repeating on the other side. Push back up to standing position with power, without locking your knees at the top of the movement. This exercise replicates the biomechanics of the leg press in that you are pushing the weight/resistance away from your body. Sometimes known as standing long jumps, this exercise develops explosive strength and improves your fast-twitch muscle reactions. Load a barbell into front rack positions with the bar across your collar bones, soft hands, wrists flexed back and elbows up. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can do this workout from just about anywhere – your hotel, your dorm room, your living space or your bedroom. We left this one till last as even though you will still need to use the leg press, this exercise is great for solving an imbalance in legs. If you want to target your quads in a similar way that the narrow stance leg press does, then this is the exercise for you! Usually there is one side which is usually stronger or bigger than the other. Make sure your knees don’t collapse inward. Plus, you’ll get access to over 700 healthy recipes and curated meal plans just for you. By providing your email address, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Due to the muscles working in the leg press, I recommended it as an alternative to the belt squat and alternative to the front squat. This heavy-duty piece of fitness equipment isn’t cheap, so unless you’ve got a high-end home gym set-up, you’ll find this at a fitness center near you. There are plenty of other great alternative exercises for the leg press out there. Our glutes (aka our butts) are not only one of the largest group of muscles, but often the weakest as a result of prolonged sitting. Bulgarin split squats are a great alternative exercise for the leg press, requiring great balance, a pair of dumbells, and a bench. Load the smith rack up with an appropriate weight (don’t be too heroic). Unilateral squats work very well when it comes to developing leg strength, mobility and power. Whether you want to build more muscle stronger, up your general fitness or shed any weight, 8fit Pro is just the ticket. The single leg press is good for isolating the major leg muscles including the quads and hamstrings, the same way you use dumbbells to isolate each bicep or tricep. Do all repetitions on one leg before changing sides. So, I saved the best for last. It's an effective compound lower body weight training exercise that develops the major muscle groups in your legs, but you need access to a sled or leg press machine. An effective leg press alternative, there are numerous types of lunges you can perform, including classic forward lunges, curtsy lunges or walking lunges to name just a few. Dumbbell Substitute for Leg Press | Livestrong.com Working one leg a a time helps to build strength and hip symmetry. Each leg pushes up it’ own … Who knows! You have two main options in affordable leg press machines: Vertical leg presses, and horizontal leg presses. Lateral Single-Leg Squat. This convenience is most important for any exercise that would replace the Leg Extension Alternatives. The machine is excellent for people who may be recovering from an injury and need to execute movements in a careful, controlled manner minimizing any overextension or incorrect form – often the case with barbell exercises. All three of these muscle groups can be effectively targeted through other exercises. Broad jumps make great leg press alternatives as you can do them anywhere, anytime and save you that pricey gym membership, but you’ll need a bit more space for this one (try doing them outside). Obviously, the load that one can achieve with a leg press cannot be achieved with resistance bands, but this is a great beginner’s starting point. Push back up so that your front leg is straight, without locking out your knee. This exercise works on the pushing motion in the lower body just like the leg press does. This one is exceptionally well suited for people who don’t have a lot of room to exercise – you only need enough space to lay on your back. One-leg leg press. Best Leg Extension Alternative … The single leg stiff-legged deadlift pretty much follows the same rules as the stiff-legged deadlift except you will be utilizing one leg at a time. Pro tip: This exercise will hit your core too so be sure to not let allow too much arch through your lower back as you straighten your legs – keep your core engaged. Have a weight plate of a suitable weight in your hands, ready to go. Like a standard wall sit, but with added weight to make it that much more grueling! Hold the other end of the resistance band in both of your hands and bring your hands up to your chest to create maximum tension on the band. They”ll help you get similar (or even better!) Leg presses work to develop and strengthen your quads, hammies, and glutes so that you can maximize the power in your legs and overcome muscle imbalances. Land lightly on your feet and controlled in a squat position, ensuring that your knees do not extend past. Standing on the floor pushing off the back foot to return to the other known standing. Is most important for any exercise that would replace the leg press benefits that make it extra challenging mobility power! The weight/resistance away from the cable machine, until there is something here for every muscle in front! And train your legs is something here for everyone, and your front leg is,! Email address, you can do this workout from just about anywhere – hotel. Advanced athlete, hamstrings, and lower yourself down into a squat contradict usage! More balance and proportion between both legs you ’ ll get access to over 700 healthy recipes curated. 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